Hosts & Challenges

Below are the 2022-2023 host sites and challenges for Western B.L.U.E.

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Western University

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) is home to over 7,000 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. We support 160 different Master's and doctoral programs in a variety of ways, including helping programs recruit new students. As part of this effort, our communication strategy includes the production of videos as a tactic for engaging with potential applicants. The videos are simple: a current student is asked a series of questions about their program, and we edit the video down to 1-2 minutes. Photos are also taken of the student, and all this material is shared on the web to help recruit. Some of our videos date back to 2015, and although they are produced to be timeless, it's a great time to start creating new content. The impact of this initiative continues to be extremely successful as the videos on our YouTube channel have been viewed over 267,000 times. Students have also said they chose to come to Western for their graduate degree because of the information they got from the videos.

Recommended Skills:

Technical knowledge on how to operate an HD digital video camera; oral and written communication skills, teamwork skills, project management, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence.

London Chamber of Commerce

The London Chamber of Commerce currently has a lineup of major events for the period in which the student will be working with the chamber. The first project will be assisting in putting together the Chamber's first Holiday Treelight event which is our way of giving back to the community, by recognizing and celebrating charities within the London area. Following that is our annual State of the City address in January, where the Mayor makes his official announcement on plans and projects for the year. Our Mega Business After 5 events will take place in the spring of 2023 and there are more projects in the works to be executed in the first and second quarters of the year.
The student will report directly to the Kalee Mepba and will be required fully on site.

Recommended Skills:

- Great organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Ability to work with a team and independently as required.
- Knowledge or interest in corporate events.

London Bridge Child Care Services

The student joining our team will actively engage in initiatives within our Human Resources Department and work alongside various employee groups to identify ways that we can improve our current Recruitment and Retention practices. There are three key areas that the student will evaluate:

1. Sourcing of candidates – attend and participate in career fairs, classroom visits, community events with the team and use evidence based research to offer suggestions for improvement.

2. Advertisement and promotion – review current methods of advertisement, research methods of other organizations, and offer suggestions on successful advertising and promotion of job opportunities.

3. Onboarding – research best practices of onboarding in Educational settings and offer suggestions for improving our current methods.


Recommended Skills:

The student should come curious and demonstrate a desire to learn and think with others. Some of the skills/knowledge that will benefit the student in this role are:

- Critical thinking skills
- Strong communication
- Ability to build relationships
- Active listening
- The ability to turn information into action
- Experience with data collection and analysis
- Interest in Marketing/Human Resources

City of London

Led by the Black Community Liaison Advisor, the Anti-Racism Anti Oppression Division of the City of London is
developing an Action Plan to address Anti-Black Racism in London Ontario over the next year. The student could help with research, community engagement and developing a report for Council.

Recommended Skills:

- Lived experience as a Black person who can acknowledge and speak to the social, political, cultural, spiritual, health and economic history, challenges, and opportunities relevant to diverse Black people and communities and the impact of systemic racism and oppression.
- Research skills,
- Community/relationship building skills, communication,
- Writing
- Public speaking skills.

Institute for Earth and Space Exploration

Western Space is looking to step into the role of convener for the broad space sector in Canada, with a kick-off event at Space as a National Asset for Canada 2022 conference (Oct 31-Nov 2, 2022).  The space sector is a dynamic and fast-growing environment, and stakeholders include representatives from large and small companies, academic scientists and engineers, and government agencies.  The next step will be to take the output of our day-long network-building workshop with stakeholders to develop an action plan to achieve the identified objectives.  This will be a high-profile leadership opportunity for the student - they would be a visible presence at the conference as a facilitator (training in this role to be included), and an identified author of the implementation plan and following actions.

Recommended Skills:

- People oriented
- Time management skills
- Organizational skills
- A natural curiosity for the work they live in
- Strong communication skills

Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of EDI is currently working on a series of Anti-Racism Modules, and we would like a student to assist us with the research and creation of one of the modules in the series. The goal is to have a student work with the office’s Digital Learning Specialist to complete qualitative secondary research and compile this research into a comprehensive module. Students should also be prepared to present their progress to their mentor during their weekly check-ins.

Recommended Skills:

You have interest in digital learning, media, and/or communications. You possess good written communication skills, accompanied by strong qualitative research capabilities, attention to detail and excellent time management skills.

BGC London - Project 1

Looking to bring awareness to the work of our organization by establishing a campaign that would engage community members to get involved as donors or volunteers.

Recommended Skills:

Marketing, videography, graphic design
Coaching, leadership, sports specific skills

BGC London - Project 2

Project involves establishing sports leagues in different areas of the City of London. We are looking to engage youth who are unable to gain access to high quality skill development programs.

Recommended Skills:

Marketing, videography, graphic design
Coaching, leadership, sports specific skills

Sports & Recreation, Western University

Mustangs Social and Digital Media Coordination
- Brainstorm ideas for Mustangs social media channels
- Update content calendar and work with areas to develop digital content ideas
- Create digital content - photos, graphics, video, stories, content plans
- Draft and edit specific content in collaboration with areas, teams, and other staff members
- Post content directly to social media and the web

Recommended Skills:

Knowledge of social and digital media; experience with Canva, Indesign or Photoshop; experience working in communications; ability to work independently but also as part of a team. Training is provided where required.

Western University, Faculty of Engineering

Western Engineering's Research Office (within the Dean’s Office) contributes to the identification, development and realization of the strategic research priorities of the Faculty, including providing guidance and support to faculty members in terms of research (for example, grant application preparation/review and establishing connections with industry). This student project would assist in achieving this goal by helping to facilitate new research collaborations between our faculty members and potential industry partners. The student would lead the organization and execution of industry partnership sessions to help match interested faculty members with appropriate industry partners in order to establish new research collaborations on topics of mutual interest between the researcher (faculty member) and industry partner. Each session would be focused on a specific research theme, and would occur every 2-3 months.
The student would:

a) organize logistics of the workshops,

b) manage the outreach communications to the relevant audiences (industry partners, researchers),

c) create and facilitate post-event surveys to learn and make improvements for future sessions, and

d) help the Engineering Research Office to identify potential industry partners for session participation.

The student would work within a team consisting of the Manager, Research Programs; Associate Dean, Research; Administrative Assistant, Research and Graduate Office; and Research Officer, Industrial Relations and therefore would have various people to learn from and a team of resources to help make the sessions successful.

Recommended Skills:

Proficiency with Microsoft Office and comfort with various computer programs/ability and willingness to learn new programs/software. Solid written and interpersonal communication skills. Strong time management skills. Willingness to seek out industry contacts and identify new potential partners. Previous event planning experience could be beneficial, but not required.

Western Research, Knowledge Exchange, Impact and EDID in Research Team

We are developing and implementing 2 new initiatives:

1) Western Research Scholars Academy, a mentorship network that will prioritize equity-deserving researchers and will provide support through mentorship from international senior mentors, networking opportunities, a monthly seminar series, and research resources such as a grants repository.

2) Research Engagement Collaborative Alliance with Partners, a community of practice dedicated to supporting engagement of diverse partners (patients, communities, industry, government and non-government agencies). It aims to enhance researchers' ability to co-create research alongside partners and empower partners outside of academic roles to overcome power differentials when contributing to research.

WESTERN B.L.U.E. Student Role: We are excited to work alongside a student interested in and committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID) to build resources for the two programs, and engage diverse stakeholders and perspectives to ensure EDID is meaningfully embedded and integrated into these programs.

Recommended Skills:

- Experience, knowledge and a passion for EDID
- Experience developing program materials and/or resources (workshops, modules, handouts, presentations etc.).
- Understanding of authentic research partnerships

Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory

Conceive, design, develop, implement and deliver exciting and engaging astronomy demonstrations and hands-on activities. Work with Observatory staff and volunteers to inspire the next generation of explorers by conducting outreach activities at the Observatory. Improve operations at the Observatory by setting up volunteer management. Preserve and showcase our historical heritage.

Recommended Skills:

Good communication skills; being an excellent team player; taking initiative and being pro-active; creativity. 

Code Ninjas London

We are looking for a Code Sensei to join our team of dynamic, energetic, forward-thinking minds, working toward our common goal: providing a fun and safe learning environment for children. Our Senseis are the lifeblood of our Code Ninjas center. This individual oversees the day-to-day coaching and student engagement. Are you experienced in working with children? Do you enjoy teaching and building problem solving skills in young engineering minds? Have you mentored youth? This could be the role for you!

Recommended Skills:

- Must be fun to work with and like working in fast paced environments where requirements can change frequently
- Working history or passion to work with children ages 7 and up (mentoring, coaching, tutoring etc.)
- Experience working with the general public
- Experience /passion in teaching, mentoring or child care
- Works well with others; collaborates
- Knowledgeable about coding and technology; or able to quickly pick up basic concepts

London Environmental Network

We are launching a new program this year called EcoLeaders! We'll be connecting youth (ages 12-24) in London to environmental events and volunteer opportunities with LEN and its members throughout the school year. We are planning on running a few info sessions, workplace tours, and an EcoLeaders forum early February with workshops and activities to engage with the students. We would look for a student to help execute and plan these events and provide overall support during the program. They would also need to be available to help at outreach booths at various events throughout the year, think of event ideas, send emails to volunteers, look into volunteer opportunities, and possibly provide tech support during online information sessions.

Recommended Skills:

It would helpful to have skills in event planning, note-taking, and be comfortable talking to new people. Also already being aware of some of London's environmental groups or organizations could be helpful to find opportunities to engage with.

Employer Relations Team, Careers & Experience, Western University

Challenge: use a variety of labour market information to better understand where new job and work integrated learning opportunities can be sourced to support Western students from all Faculties in finding employment.  This will generate a prospect list that Employer Relations can mine to grow more WIL opportunities to meet the needs of an expanding student population.
Challenge: finds and reports employment outcomes of new graduates, giving critical information about the industries new graduates are working in context to the faculties they studied. This will help us tell a compelling and complete story of where our students are landing. 

Recommended Skills:

- Analytical skills with the ability to collect, organize, and interpret trends and patterns in data sets
- Intermediate Skills with computing applications (e.g. Outlook, web-based applications)
- Verbal and written communication skills, with a demonstrated ability to build relationships
- Organizational skills, including managing multiple projects and an ability to adapt to emerging priorities and adhere to timelines
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a team-oriented environment
- Proven ability to effectively manage a project from beginning to end

International Learning at Western International

The International Learning team in Western International looking to recruit a student through the B.L.U.E. program to take the lead on a project to help us understand how best to create inclusive, diverse and equitable international learning opportunities for underrepresented students, including students of colour. In addition, this role will assist with the coordination of the Impact Experience program, including the opportunity to participate in a short-term international experience as a Student Team Lead. Specific outcomes of our project include:

- Lead a research project (e.g. surveys, focus groups, etc.) to understand barriers to participation in international learning opportunities for underrepresented students, including students of colour, and identify resources (including financial support) that would counter barriers.
- Assist in developing an inclusive pre-departure session for international learning opportunities, ensuring that concerns and key learning outcomes identified by underrepresented students are addressed
- Assist in developing marketing and promotional materials to ensure that the language is inclusive and messaging resonates with underrepresented students
- Develop and participate in a Study Abroad info session to promote international learning opportunities to underrepresented students
- Assist in facilitating workshops on intercultural competency for outbound students, with a focus on knowledge targeted to the needs of underrepresented students
- Assist in the coordination of the Impact Experience program for short-term international learning experiences, including participating in an experience as a Student Team Lead


Recommended Skills:

- Intercultural competency developed through wide-ranging experience
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Project management skills
- Curiosity and desire to learn
- Organizational skills and attention to detail
- Presentation and facilitation skills
- Knowledge in data analysis
-  Qualitative and quantitative research skills
- Critical thinking skills and ability to think creatively

Undergraduate Recruitment Team - Western University

Your challenge is to create digital recruitment communications for diverse groups of future students.
In the undergraduate recruitment team at Western, we aim to help future students find the right university for them. We use digital communications to reach large audiences. A goal in our team is to provide more targeted and personalized digital communications to segments of our audience. These segments might include countries/regions or equity-deserving groups depending on your interests.
Your challenge will include:
- Researching targeted audiences and identifying information relevant and useful for them
- Developing a communications plan (email, social media etc.) for the targeted audience(s)
- Implementing the communications plan by creating a range of digital communications

Recommended Skills:

- Research skills and ability to provide landscape scans and analysis of post-secondary competitors
- Critical thinking and analytical skills to identify issues of concern for prospective students
- Interest in marketing trends and best practices knowledge of principles of writing, including grammar and style, argument, and coherence with attention to detail, proofreading abilities and an excellent command of the English language
- Compelling and persuasive communication skills to engage individuals and youth audiences outside the University
- Ability to analyze metrics and consider past communications to craft engaging written communications using social media or other appropriate channels
- Ability to apply creativity and recommend strategies for engagement initiatives in response to cultural and social trends
- Ability to think creatively and use a non-prescriptive approach in marketing and communications initiatives

- Demonstrated intercultural competency and knowledge of cross-cultural research and work practices
- Ability to design engaging visuals that enhance the message of communications

Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario (ESWO)

Part of our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan is to ensure inclusivity in all agency functions. The identified steps to begin this essential process are:

- Implement targeted professional development for ESWO team and volunteers
- Review and update agency policies and procedures ensuring inclusive language, removing systemic barriers and using a diversity lens
- Identify diverse client groups and engage appropriate partners to implement inclusive services, a welcoming environment and culturally safe materials
- Contact specialized community organizations for guidance and expertise
- Secure funding to implement suggested changes in service approaches, agency materials, etc.

These are ambitious goals that are essential to the functioning of ESWO. The student would be expected to help us move the needle in the right direction.

Recommended Skills:

- Research
- Organization
- Communication
- Lived experience


Transition, Leadership and Enrichment (Student Experience, Western University)

The graduate student experience is challenging for all students and mentorship from more experienced graduate students can reveal the hidden curriculum, build a strong sense of community, and improve student success. The challenge before you is to design, coordinate and deliver a graduate student mentoring program for students who identify as racialized or identify as first-generation university students. You will develop project management and communication skills and sharpen your leadership and teaching skills. You will develop relationships with faculty, staff and students across the University. You will also be invited to conduct project assessment, prepare professional conference proposals or write about the project for relevant blogs or news sites (if desired).

Recommended Skills:

Experience in a graduate program is required and an interest in learning more about graduate student success. Students should have strong attention to detail, capacity to manage competing priorities, strong communication skills and an interest in engaging with people across campus. 

Black at Western Alumni Association - Project 1

Create an Archive of Black activity in Western since its inception
Research, design, and create a public-facing archive/repository of the historical and notable figures associated with Western since it's inception. The archive will also capture events and issues that can be documented for posterity. The archive will be an open-source tool designed to encourage and inspire ongoing research and contributions from all interested parties.

Recommended Skills:

- an interest in historical events and personalities,
- the capacity to research by all methods,
- maturity/confidence to contribute to project design decisions
- Interviewing skills
- Writing skills

Black at Western Alumni Association - Project 2

Create a London community-based list of black-oriented groups and services Audit/research, design, and create a database repository listing for the various groups, organizations, businesses, and associations that operate in and around the London area that provide services and community presence for the black community.  The data will list contact details, services, events, and other features as seen relevant to building awareness and social cohesion in the community.  The role will be less technical and more research and auditing.

Recommended Skills:

- Interviewing skills
- Information design (which data should be collected and why)
- Data entry and maintenance
- Creative investigation (ferreting out potential groups to be included on the list)
- Interest in the concepts of building access to community services using information


Waste Reduction: London Factory has annual Material Usage Variance of about 6 Million Dollars and about 50% of this is physical waste. Purpose of project is to define a process of daily waste collection, logging data through digital tools and establishing routines to review data and take improvement actions to minimize waste.

Recommended Skills:

Analytical Skills, knowledge of Microsoft office, People skills (Project will require interacting with operators across all shifts).

United Way Elgin Middlesex

United Way has identified equity as one of it's strategic priorities in it's current strategic plan. This encompasses how we operate, the work we do to create impact in our community, and how we communicate with and inspire our community to take action. We believe Western B.L.U.E. participant would be an incredible addition to our communications team as we look to develop compelling content through an equity lens. The student would assist with researching best practices, providing recommendations, and developing and refining content that is shared amongst UW's extensive audiences.

Recommended Skills:

At United Way, we work to build a community where everyone has a fair shot at a good life. This includes dismantling long-standing systems of oppression and barriers to opportunities. The Western B.L.U.E. program aligns perfectly with our vision and our increased focus on equity.

W.E.A.N. Community Centre

Knowing how to code in today's world is a valuable and in demand skill, but it can be a bit overwhelming to get started learning. With hundreds of languages used, it can be hard to find the right one to start learning and it can be hard to learn all the concepts from scratch. With this class, you'll learn how to code in Java, a popular language that will provide a launching point for you to learn how to write good code and will provide you with the understanding of the fundamental concepts to make the transitions to other languages smoother. This course will cover everything from the most basic of programs all the way up to object-oriented and thread programming, all while covering how the computer implements all this under the hood to give a better understanding of why we write the code the way that we do. There will be several projects that will give you plenty to practice on and will help you grow as a programmer to help reinforce the concepts taught.

Recommended Skills:

No prior coding skills are needed for this course/project; all of the necessary skills will be taught in class. Knowledge of English is required since all lectures, course material and assignments are in English. Knowledge of a computer or background knowledge in another language would be helpful.

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

The CMHF recognizes that diversity, equity and inclusion strengthen the health sciences, health systems and health care communities and leads to enhanced quality, social relevance and impact of health-related disciplines. We actively seek a diverse pool of award nominations so that those honoured may reflect the diversity of our communities. We are looking for a student to research BIPOC leaders who have made significant impact on the health sciences and medicine in Canada, document their impact and collect contact information of the organizations with which they are affiliated. The candidate will develop a professional report about this research that will be made available to the CMHF Board of Directors and Laureate Nomination and Selection Advisory Committee to support targeted outreach to organizations affiliated with these groups to help stimulate nominations. The student will use their research to revise and develop related impact themes and timelines on our website for educational purposes. Other administrative duties will be assigned as required.

Recommended Skills:

- An interest in health science, medicine, and/or history

- Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite

- Research and data collection

- Strong communication skills

- Understanding of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the Laureates, and the nomination process

Labatt Breweries of Canada

Working on our People (HR) Strategy team, the student will have the opportunity to create a toolkit that will provide our People (HR) Business Partners with tangible steps on how to increase employee engagement at our various breweries and offices across Canada. The student will interact with employees onsite and virtually to understand how they can become more engaged at work, and create a toolkit which could include: steps to activate cultural celebrations, employee recognition opportunities, employee communications plans, etc. This consulting project will give the student exposure to employees across functions and locations, along with the opportunity to network with senior leadership.

Recommended Skills:

- Consulting
- Project management
- Time management
- Strategic thinking
- Leadership
- Stakeholder management
- Presentation & public speaking skills
- Human resources management
- Written & verbal communication skills
- Collaborative
- Creative
- Inclusive